Business Franchise Australia


Traditional Cafe Brand reaches a Milestone

Brisbane’s iconic Shingle Inn café will reach an outstanding milestone this month, with the opening of its 50th store in Perth’s CBD.

Directors Andrew and Peter Bellchambers said the decision to franchise the cafes was made just over five years ago, at a time when the brand consisted of eight company-owned stores in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

“Despite a quite methodical approach towards this milestone, it has arrived remarkably quickly thanks to our very dedicated team, all of which should be proud of their individual efforts toward this collective achievement” said Andrew.

“We established a roll-out strategy for a 5 year period of growth, while accounting for stronger growth in certain regions due to the hospitality and retail landscape being quite fluid. To achieve 50 stores within 5 years of franchising sits within our goals and expectations of growing the Brand,” said Peter.  

According to Directors Andrew and Peter Bellchambers, one of the most important factors of expansion was ensuring the company heritage stayed intact.

“On the other hand, innovation is an equally as important company value as tradition, and these may seem at odds with one another. It is definitely an interesting balance for us to not lose Shingle Inn’s heritage for the generations of customers who love to visit our stores, whilst at the same time challenging ourselves to be innovative and stay at the forefront of a fast-moving industry,” Andrew admitted.

“The family component is inherent in franchisees operating their Shingle Inn store. They manage it as an individual family unit, but at the same time, they are a part of the broader Shingle Inn family…I don’t see that feeling changing.”

Andrew Bellchambers said the next goals to achieve included expanding to 100 stores, including new territories such as New Zealand and South East Asia. 

The most personally rewarding part of this expansion, according to Andrew, is the fact that it brings a boutique-style café, which is steeped in tradition and features exceptional service, delicious food and premium coffee, within geographical reach of everyone.

“Local families of mid-range suburbs have reacted with excitement and delight that a family-owned stylish café with a diverse menu can now be their local café, as opposed to the typical greasy corner carvery, with bad coffee and unhealthy food,” Andrew said.

“There are many suburbs all over Australia and NZ to whom I hope we can introduce to the Shingle Inn Brand, so they too can enjoy what other generations of loyal customers have experienced over 79 years of our proud history.”   

Over the past five years, since December 2009, Shingle Inn has expanded to 29 stores in Queensland, which included the high profile re-opening of the original store within Brisbane’s City Hall, as well as stores in New South Wales, ACT, Victoria and Western Australia. The organisation was also awarded the Franchise Council of Australia’s Emerging Franchise of the Year Award 2014.

Shingle Inn's 50th store in Perth

Andrew said that the opening of the 50th store, which happens to be in Perth’s CBD and the sixth store in WA, also coincides with a significant milestone for the Bellchambers family.

“It will be the 40th anniversary of our parents purchasing the original Shingle Inn café from the Webster family. This will also mark our stewardship surpassing that of the Webster’s, who owned the café for 39 years,” explains Andrew.

Shingle Inn was originally opened on Edward Street, Brisbane, in the Autumn of 1936, amidst the backdrop of the Great Depression.  Now into its 79 year history, the café has only been owned by two families, ensuring a continuity of product, tradition and family culture that has survived multiple generations.

“We’re very grateful for the hard work of our franchise families who now represent our brand nationally, and to our entire team who all have a deep seated passion for the brand and our history,” says Andrew.  “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Andrew said a number of different models for expansion were considered, including private equity, joint-venture capital investment.

“We settled on franchising as it provided a vehicle that encouraged the owner-operator to be key to the store’s success, which is a critical component in hospitality.”